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Abe Woodson, legendary kick returner, dies at 79

Abe Woodson, one of the greatest kick returners in football history, has died at the age of 79.

A five-time Pro Bowler for the San Francisco 49ers, Woodson led the NFL in kickoff return average in 1959, 1962 and 1963, and led the league in punt return average in 1960. Woodson was also a starting cornerback for the 49ers, and played some running back as well. At the time of his retirement in 1966, he was the NFL’s all-time leader in kickoff return yardage.

Woodson grew up in Chicago and played his college football at Illinois, where he also ran track. The 49ers took him in the second round of the 1957 NFL draft.

Woodson died in Las Vegas, where he had been working as a prison minister.

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5 Responses to “Abe Woodson, legendary kick returner, dies at 79”
  1. 64post says: Feb 12, 2014 1:00 PM

    RIP Abe.

  2. medialovesthecowboys says: Feb 12, 2014 1:41 PM

    Obviously didn’t watch him play as I wasn’t born for another 30 something years, but nice to see an article nodding a former player instead of you know… Michael Sam, Chris Kluwe or Peyton Manning supposedly the Browns CEO in waiting…

  3. southsidesteve86 says: Feb 12, 2014 2:45 PM

    RIP Abe….never saw you play but sounds like an exciting player to watch back in the day.

  4. rap49er says: Feb 12, 2014 11:39 PM

    I saw him often at Kezar and he was great. Loved the old NFL in the 60’s. Pure football.

  5. daveaveni says: Feb 13, 2014 2:48 PM

    also saw Abe play at Kezar-very quick !!! have 8×10 photo of him signed by him in ball point pen – that’s how they did it then – back in the day !! very cool -have it my office !! R I P – Abe!!!

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